OpenDaylight Hydrogen SDN Platform Arrives

By Sean Michael Kerner | Feb 4, 2014 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/datacenter/opendaylight-hydrogen-sdn-platform-arrives.html

The Linux Foundation's OpenDaylight project launched in April of 2013 with the promise of building an open source, multi-stakeholder Software Defined Networking (SDN) platform. Today, OpenDaylight delivers on that promise with its first official release, dubbed Hydrogen.

Neela Jacques, who became executive director of the OpenDaylight Project in November of 2013, officially announced the availability of the Hydrogen release in his opening keynote at the OpenDaylight summit today.

Jacques told Enterprise Networking Planet that the OpenDaylight Project has grown significantly since its start in April of 2013. The effort started off with an impressive list of 18 organizations, among them many of the world's leading networking vendors, including Cisco, Juniper, Brocade and HP. Jacques said that there are now 33 different organizations participating in the OpenDaylight Project, representing the full range of possible IT industry participants.

When OpenDaylight got started, the core of the project was the SDN controller. Since April, the project itself has also expanded dramatically and now includes a broad spectrum of SDN components. The Hydrogen release itself has three separate editions, each designed for certain target use cases.

Chris Wright, OpenDaylight board member and the technical director of SDN at Red Hat, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the Base Edition includes the Controller, the OpenFlow Plugin and Protocol Library, and the Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) configuration and management protocol support.

The service abstraction layer is a central component of the OpenDaylight controller.

"The service abstraction layer that sits in the middle of the platform provides isolation between the southbound plugins that communicate to forwarding elements and the northbound side, which gives applications a set of consistent APIs to view and manage the network," Wright explained.

From a hardware perspective, the southbound plugin is the element that connects to a network forwarding component, such as a router, switch or virtual instance.

The virtualization edition of OpenDaylight builds on top of the base edition by providing additional components that enable a real SDN deployment. One of the virtualization components is the Virtual Tenant Network (VTN), which provides additional applications and services for the controller to enable administrators to build tenant-based isolation using OpenFlow.

The Open DOVE component in the virtualization edition provides an overlay technology using VXLAN as the tunneling encapsulation mechanism. Defense4all, which is also in the virtualization edition, provides SDN security.

"Defense4all is a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) project which uses the controller to recognize potentially malicious traffic flows," Wright said. "You can redirect the traffic to some kind of monitoring device or just blackhole the traffic."

The Service Provider Edition of OpenDaylight Edition includes a number of components that Wright said are important to service providers. One of them is LISP (Locator/identifier Separation Protocol) flow mapping. Additionally, there is a project called SNMP4SDN, which enables service providers to manage their legacy devices over the widely used and supported SNMP protocol while still enjoying the benefits of SDN.

"In some cases, you have a set of legacy infrastructure switches and routers that are not able to speak OpenFlow, and SNMP4SDN has developed a southbound plug-in that enables service providers to manage infrastructure on legacy interfaces like SNMP," Wright said.

Monitoring

The OpenDaylight project today does not specifically call out any distinct dashboard or monitoring sub-project, though those are part of the overall effort. Wright said that there is a user interface for OpenDaylight that is part of the base edition. That UI gives some visualization of the network switches and flows.

The virtualization edition offers the OpenStack Networking Neutron API service. That enables administrators to allocate network resources from an OpenStack cloud.

Wright noted that what is not in the Hydrogen release, but is on the potential future roadmap, is specific integration with the OpenStack Horizon dashboard. Horizon in the future could become a dashboard for OpenDaylight.

Interoperability

The OpenDaylight Hydrogen project is released under the open-source Eclipse Public License (EPL). The project does not currently have a compliance mark that ensures the organizations that claim to be offering OpenDaylight technology are in fact compatible with other OpenDaylight implementations.

"We don't have a statement that we're making about what it means to be OpenDaylight-powered or certified," Wright said. "But a big dev focus is to create a core set of APIs that you can't really work without."

Jacques added that though the project has not yet defined the rules around the usage of OpenDaylight, that's something that is in the works.

"The team is actively going through to figure out some ground rules so we can clearly communicate in a consistent way to end users how someone is leveraging OpenDaylight," Jacques said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist